The role of new media and the Internet have been undeniably increasing day by day, and now, more than ever, due to the ongoing pandemic. As their importance increases,
new media and the Internet also affect the way we see the world through what we read, as well as to what we react and interact. Media literacy – the ability to access, share, critically evaluate, create and participate in the media – has now become a life skill for everyone so that we can successfully navigate our way in this increasingly complex media environment..
At EAVI , we work on media literacy by raising awareness of the topic and promoting citizen engagement through various activities including providing freely available resources and collaborating with various organisations on the European level. As one of our new initiatives in this area, Okan Özkan and I have been working on the recently launched EAVI Test. With this test, we aim to answer crucial questions about our perception of the digital age. How realistic is this perception? To what extent are we aware of the role and impact of the Internet? Our aim is to help everyone reflect on the role that new media and the Internet play in our daily lives as well as in society. By raising awareness and arousing curiosity, we believe that the EAVI Test is a step forward towards becoming a more media literate society.
We were inspired by the brilliant book called Factfulness written by Hans Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund and Ola Rosling. In this book, the authors provided a test to reveal people’s understanding of the world by using facts only. The results were striking as they found out that the vast majority of people (including policymakers and journalists) tend to have a very outdated and pessimistic view of the world.
Following this logic, we created the EAVI Test by only looking at facts related to digitalisation, the Internet and social media – ranging from gender inequality in internet use to data privacy. Moving away from tricks and (mis)leading scenarios, we created ten fact-based questions. We did not design the test for a specific target group. On the contrary, our objective is to engage with as many different people of different ages and educational backgrounds as possible by using non-technical language.
We launched the test on 20 July and have been actively analysing the initial results. The average score is 3.1 out of 10. Which means, an average person got seven questions wrong. So, what does this tell us? certainly, there is a lot to unpack here and to think about the reasons why the average is so low as well as to consider what can be done about it. We will do so by preparing a detailed report regarding the test results and related information in the upcoming months. We are also working on a dedicated web page to offer preliminary considerations. Nevertheless, it is fair to say the majority of what people who took the test think they know and what they actually do know seems to be quite different.
Its worth noting that we did not have any desirable outcome while preparing the EAVI Test and there is no “pass” or “fail”. Moreover, our aim was never to dictate information to people, nor to “correct” the way they use new media and the Internet. Instead, we wanted this test to be a tool to fire up curiosity, to start the conversation around media literacy and to motivate people to become more aware, factful and mindful about the digital age. We encourage people to consider this test as a step (maybe the first one) on their media literacy journey one in which EAVI will be happy to accompany them.
The test is only in English (for now). It is also free and can be used in non-commercial circumstances as long as the rights of EAVI, as the author of the test, are acknowledged.
So what exactly do you know about new media and the Internet? for example, how many days does the average person spend online each year? We invite you to challenge yourself and others in your community to take the test to answer this question and nine others, all you have to do is click here. If you have any questions or remarks regarding the test, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and follow us on Twitter to keep in touch.
Gülşen Güler, EAVI
Gülşen is a data literacy consultant, working with a strong focus on data feminism and intersectionality. She has experience in the academic research of AI and digital inclusion, and she is also a trained social worker.